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Bay Area Flu Deaths on the Rise

Two in Santa Cruz may have died from the flu. See below where to get vaccines and what the symptoms are.

This CDC map tracks the flu outbreak nationally as of the last week of 2013.
This CDC map tracks the flu outbreak nationally as of the last week of 2013.
By Bay City News Service — Two recent deaths in Santa Cruz County have been linked to the flu, and another two in Marin County are suspected of being flu-related, public health officials said Wednesday.

There were two suspected influenza-related deaths within the 
last two weeks in Santa Cruz County, a spokeswoman from that county's Public 
Health Department said. Both people were under age 65 and lab tests have not 
yet confirmed that the deaths are flu-related, the spokeswoman said.

A 48-year-old Contra Costa woman's death was also flu-related and a 41-year-old Santa Clara woman's death right before Christmas was attributed to the illness.

In Marin County a 63-year-old man with significant chronic medical conditions died on Dec. 27, and a previously healthy 48-year-old woman died of an 
influenza-related complication on Jan. 6, Marin County Public Health Officer 
Dr. Matt Willis said.

Both were hospitalized in intensive care, and neither had received 
a flu vaccine, Willis said.

Six other flu patients, most of them young or middle-aged adults, 
have been hospitalized in the county, Willis said. 

The predominant influenza virus nationally and in Marin County in 
the 2013-14 flu season is A H1N1, the same virus that caused the 2009-10 H1N1 pandemic, according to the Marin County Public Health Department.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the H1N1 
virus continues to circulate widely, and illnesses are disproportionately 
affecting young and middle-age adults.

Public health officials are urging residents to get a flu shot if 
they haven't already. (Click here to find a flu shot provider nearest you.) This year's vaccine protects against H1N1 and other 
influenza strains.

Here's a list of flu symptoms.

Other preventive measures include covering the mouth and nose when 
coughing or sneezing, using tissues and discarding them in a trash 
receptacle, scrubbing hands often with soap and water, using alcohol-based 
hand cleaners, and staying home from work or school if you have flu-like 
symptoms.

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